KURO: Paint it Black
Japanese label KURO is endorsing the nation’s superior craft at every turn. And, with an architectural approach that’s put his ready-to-wear firmly on the map, Yusuke Yatsuhashi’s denim education is one that goes beyond just good jeans
Japan has made an undisputable mark on the global denim industry, and none more so than KURO. The denim-turned-ready-to-wear label is all about the craft, with founder Yusuke Yatsuhashi sourcing every stage of production from seasoned specialists across Japan.
“I have been communicating with and visiting the manufacturers on a daily basis for a long time”, Yusuke Yatsuhashi tells us. “This led me to push and promote Japanese craftsmanship because their skills are on top of the game in many ways.” The name KURO translates as black, honouring “the colour of the eyes and hair of the people of Japan” who are integral to the brand‘s identity, and with Japan’s abundant expertise, it would be foolish not to maximise on the local advantage. “The collections are made in Japan throughout the complete process”, Yatsuhashi says. “They showcase the intricate craftsmanship, innovative original fabrics, exquisite sewing techniques, and strong bonds with traditional artisans.”
Japan’s foothold in denim culture has been a prominent feature of Yatsuhashi’s experience from a young age: “In the mid-1990s, I was in the middle of a vintage denim boom in Japan. As a teenager, I was digging for everything I could to get a hold of, just like any other kid – that is how I developed my strong passion for denim.”
Yet, with a considered push into ready-to-wear, denim isn’t where it ends. Yatsuhashi attests that the entire KURO collection shares the precision and form that underpins his jeans. “Denim is my starting point, and it has its own cultural background as a product, and that is where I want to step in and reinterpret that with my own sensibility,” he says. “Because denim requires such sensitivity in its production, it influenced me to apply the same mentality to my current, ready-to-wear collection.”
His own developments reflect Japan’s evolving expertise, and he puts the nation’s denim authority down to natural progression from historic crafts: “Japan had their own traditional dyeing culture from back in ancient days, such as Aizome, Kasuri-zome. Then later, around the ‘80s and ‘90s, came denim trends.” Yatsuhashi’s concerns, however, come from the threat of reversed progress in his industry, noting, “people are neglecting authenticity in culture for a modern technology-oriented world”. Fortunately, these fears have left him far from disheartened. With KURO, he is on his own path, driving Japan’s unparalleled skills into new territory with an honest consideration for the heritage that made it possible.